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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 35906
Attorney Name Neil, David MacGregor
DBP Docket No. 12 DB 2005
Supreme Court Docket No. 1118 DD No. 3
County Erie
Disciplinary Counsel Mark G. Weitzman
Counsel for Respondent None
Decision Date 2006-03-23
Effective Date 2003-03-26
Case Digest Despite being paid his fee in full, Respondent neglected the administration of an estate after he filed the inheritance tax return and the inheritance tax was paid. He did not take action to send a stock certificate owned by the decedent to the company so the shares of stock could be sold and the proceeds divided among the executrix and her siblings, pursuant to the Will, as he had agreed to do. He then did not return the executrix's calls or otherwise communicate with her. Respondent was placed on inactive status for not complying with his annual C.L.E. requirements by Supreme Court Order dated March 25, 2003, effective April 24, 2003. Respondent did not then inform the client of his transfer to inactive status, did not refund to the executrix the unearned portion of the fee she paid to him, did not withdraw as attorney of record for the estate, did not return the stock certificate to the executrix, and did not comply with the requirements of Rule 217, Pa.R.D.E. When the executrix called Respondent in November 2003 about the sale of the stock, he misrepresented to her that he had to "re-file" the stock certificate due to a paperwork error and did not inform him of his transfer to inactive status. Respondent did not return the executrix's calls to him in February and May 2004 about the estate or otherwise contact her and he took no action at any time to have the shares of stock sold. At the time of the disciplinary hearing, Respondent had been suspended for one year and one day after being held in contempt by the Supreme Court for continuing to represent clients in ongoing legal matters, accepting a retainer from a new client and representing three new clients in legal matters following his transfer to inactive status. Respondent appeared for the pre-hearing conference but did not appear for the disciplinary hearing. He also had not appeared for the disciplinary hearing before the Board Panel concerning his being held in contempt. Respondent had received two informal admonitions, one in 1997 and one in 2002 for misconduct similar to the instant case.
Rule Violation(s) RPCs 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.5(b), 1.16(a)(1), 1.16(d), 8.4(c) and Rule 217(a), Pa.R.D.E.
Discipline Imposed Five yr. suspension to run consecutive with suspension of 12/22/04.
Points of Law A lawyer's chronic neglect of client matters, misrepresentation to the client to cover-up his neglect and failure to notify the client of his transfer to inactive status and that he could no longer represent her, when the lawyer has a prior history of discipline and has engaged in conduct which displayed an indifference to the disciplinary process, warrants a suspension for five years.
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